Herradura has continuously produced tequila since 1870, and the roughly 25 million agaves it maintains are propagated from the original plants of that era. More than any other huge-scale producer, Herradura has found a way, though, to maintain quality while scaling up. (Way, way up – its fermentation tanks hold more than a million gallons.) Rather than rely on commercial yeasts to hasten fermentation, the company uses only naturally occurring airborne yeasts and lets the juice ferment for up to a week. The hacienda has a knack for aging: Herradura introduced the reposado category in 1974, and it remains one of the best examples of the style, with classic vanilla and butterscotch elements that come from a long (for reposado) 11 months in American oak. Its blanco spends 45 days in oak, giving it a bit of color and smoothness, though without overpowering the base agave flavor. [$40; bevmo.com]
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